Urban Survival Kit Planning Factors | Urban Survival Gear Essentials

Urban Bug Out Bag

When it comes to disaster, being prepared is a must, and you must tailor your survival kit to your surroundings. For instance, many people from a highly urbanized area will have different needs than rural areas.

Having an urban bug-out bag will give you the advantage of surviving these brutal disasters as you will be equipped with all the things you need for yourself and your family.

What do you put in an urban bug-out bag? It would be best to have a lightweight tarp or poncho shelter, sleeping bag, get-home clothing, and shoes. Have at least 1 liter of water and some fire-starting tools. You need to pack some lightweight on-the-go food items such as power bars.

This article will understand an urban bug-out bag and why it is essential to have one ready in any emergency. It is also crucial to have one always ready at your disposal because you never know when a disaster will strike.

What Is An Urban Bug Out Bag?

There are many definitions of the bug-out bag, and in a general sense, a BOB is defined as a kit continuing all things you need to survive in disaster conditions.

Usually, these BOB should provide you with enough food, drinks, and other materials that can last for three days. In an urban setting, having a bug-out bag should always contain everything you need to survive a disaster in a city or an urban location.

This kit was built from the ground up to focus on people living in urban areas like big cities. It can help them deal with all the harsh realities they will face when encountering a large-scale disaster.

It can be their lifesaver when a disaster event happens, forcing them to evacuate the area.

Planning out a bug-out bag should not be that hard as long as you know what should be in there and how to use it properly. There will always be some things that you will need to add to fulfill your needs and your family.

Truth be told, when a disaster happens, you could get stuck wondering about the city. It can be because of the following situations:

  • Your home is not safe anymore, and you have no choice but to find another shelter.
  • Your city was put on lockdown, and you are not able to leave your house.
  • You have a pre-existing condition that limits you from getting out of your city, let alone your house.
  • You are completely stranded because there is no rural/wilderness around you.
  • It can take several days for you to trek through the city to reach the following safe location.

Planning Factors

As mentioned above, it is different in an urban setting when it comes to disaster. It is why urban survival kits will always be different.

Bug-out situations that usually occur in urban centers have several factors to consider when building your BOB. Here are some of the urban survival factors that you need to consider when making your packing list:

  1. It would help if you considered dealing with some building debris and glass in the wake of any disaster.

  2. There is an increased likelihood of opportunities to scavenge water and food from many abandoned buildings.

  3. There is also a possibility of finding supply caches in abandoned buildings. This site does not endorse looting but if abandoned supplies mean life and death, go for it.

  4. A significant probability exists of your likelihood to encounter, which can be good and bad depending on your position. Other survivors can be bartered with and be valuable resources of information. But they can also be some criminals, so you need to be extra careful and practice caution.

  5. You also need to consider less need for emergency shelter as there should be many buildings around and debris available to cobble together.

Urban Survival Gear Essentials

When it comes to BOB, you need to set some items to help you survive and find good stuff during a disaster. You won’t be able to survive having just tiny bits of food and water in your bag.

So it is essential to have essentials as well in your urban bug-out bag.

Crow Bar / Pry Bar

It is a must in your BOB because it can help you scavenge and remove barriers and debris. It can also help you hammer out the glass. Having a Ka-Bar Becker will be a great help as it is compact and can smash everything.

It can also cite as the situation requires. A Stanley Fubar is also a good choice for those with more space in their BOB as it can come in small and large options.

Urban Axe

As the Ontario SP-16 SPAX, having a multi-purpose urban ax will be an incredibly versatile tool in your arsenal. Not only is it a knife, but it can also be a hatchet, a pickaxe, or whatever the situation dictates.

It also has some required slots to open and close hydrants and gas main. It can be pretty useful if you find yourself in a house with a gas leak or if you want to access a fire hydrant for some water.


It is wise to invest now in many multi-purpose tools such as Leatherman Wingman to give you an edge in survival mode.

It is designed to perform all sorts of unexpected jobs. It can solve minor issues or get you out of a tight ham with just less effort.

Work Gloves

If you are about to break glass or move debris, you need to have at least some pair of gloves that can go in handy during this time.

A pair of gloves like the Mechanix M-Pact Gloves can hold your hands and keep you working and moving much longer.

Dust Mask

If there are collapsed buildings in your urban area, having a dust mask will be able to protect your lungs from airborne debris particles.

You can check out the 3M N95 Respirator Mask to protect you from inhaling all these dangerous particles.

Weapons For An Urban Survival Kit

Not only do you need to have the essential things in your bug-out bag, but you also need to protect yourself from different invaders or outside elements.

Encountering unfriendly people can be an unpleasant experience, so you need to consider this in an urban scenario.

Ideally, you can easily talk your way through if you encounter dangerous situations and avoid them altogether. However, that is not the case in some, people can be pretty selfish, and it can get elevated during survival times.

If this is similar to your current situation, you need to have something to defend yourself.

Repurposed Tools

Carrying a weapon for self-defense is totally valid, and sometimes most weapons can be repurposed tools.

You can either repurpose using some of the things mentioned above, like your crowbar and pry bar.


You can do many things with a knife, so it is quite handy to have in your BOB.

A knife can also be a potential self-defense weapon as it can help you scare outsider elements away from you.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray works in so many ways, and it is a popular choice for a practical survival kit weapon. It can defend you from many attackers to flee from any potential danger in these urban locations.


Carrying a gun is also an option, and only if it is legal in your area and you are familiar with using one. Guns can help get rid of any potential dangers as it has the upper hand.

However, you need to be very careful, especially when handling these, as they can be pretty deadly.

Planning Considerations In An Urban Environment

When you plan to pack things up for your bug-out bags, you need to think about the items in categories based on what goal they can achieve.

For instance, to survive in a situation, you need shelter, food, warmth, and even medical supplies.

Most bug-out bag lists are created with the notion that you will be escaping into the wilderness. So you can expect to get a portable saw to cut things out and some fishing kits to help you secure some fish in some streams.

But all of these are most likely to be useless in an urban location. Here are some of the survival and planning considerations that are unique to an urban environment.

Shelter Considerations

The good news is that when bugging out in a city, there are plenty of pre-made shelters readily available.

It might be in your sight, but there will be some hindrance as it is heavily caged or locked, then this is where these gears will come in handy.

You might also want to have some plastic tarp and some duct tape so you can weatherproof the damaged shelter.

Many survival experts recommend mapping out some locations in your city that can make a good survival shelter. While abandoned buildings like factories might be a good choice, many people will go to this area.

Dilapidated buildings might be better as few people will think of going there as there are likely targeted by looters.


When you are bugging out in the wilderness, the first thing that you need to worry about is the bacteria and protozoa found in most water.

Although viruses are not a concern when it comes to urban locations, and neither are chemicals. The standard backpacking water filter will actually do its job, but this is not the case in an urban environment.

Even the water from your tap is not safe to drink anymore during some emergencies. You will most likely need to have some water purification method to remove the bacterias and chemicals.

Another issue is whether or not you will find a good source of potable water in the city.

When you are reduced to collecting water from the puddles or any sewers, you can expect the worst that there is a lot of toxic waste that will be in it. To solve this dilemma, you need to pack some gear like:

  • Extra set of bottled waters
  • Water filter plus activated charcoal for removing the chemicals from the water.
  • Sillcock key for opening water valves in many commercial buildings
  • A hydrant wrench will help open hydrants.

The Need To Be Discreet

In many disasters and Shit Hit The Fan situations, the last thing you want to do is draw some attention. Walking around with a camo-style backpack with loaded supplies will most likely do that.

When choosing a bug-out backpack, choose the very discreet one, and there are plenty of these bags available online. Experts say that you should consider getting a baby bag as your BOB because no one will suspect that the bag will be loaded with gear.

When choosing the BOB, you can go as far as tactical backpacks go. This tactical BOB is designed to be discreet.

You will get all the essential benefits that come with a tactical pack. It includes all the needed space and compartments, not to mention, it is made up of high-end materials.


There is a huge possibility that you will encounter different people in many urban cities, and not all of them will be kind and helpful. There are also gangs out there and selfish people that will do everything in their favor.

The need for self-defense items is highly one of your priorities when picking items for your BOB. Most people will recommend a firearm for urban survival self-defense, but firearms can only be helpful if you know how to use it and are prepared to use it.

Firearms can also draw unnecessary attention to yourself, and they can alert people around your presence, so you might as well go with some discreet stuff like pepper spray.

It is also recommended to have some non-lethal self-defense tools as firearms can literally kill someone.

Rubble, Debris, And Toxic Pollutants

Some incidents happened in the world that served as a significant awakening to the danger of toxic pollutants. People are still dying today because of many respiratory diseases from exposure to flaming poisonous materials like asbestos.

Even if some minor disasters like a hurricane can still inflict damage and toxic pollution to be released by the phenomenon.

Aside from that, there is all of the broken glass, crumbling buildings, and rubble. For you to stay safe, you need to have at least some of these gears:

  1. Sturdy boots
  2. Heavy-duty boots
  3. Face mask
  4. Eye protection
  5. Earplugs
  6. Fire extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher might not be able to fit in your urban BOB, but it is still essential to have one at home, in your vehicle, and even at work.

Medical Needs

Just like the same thing with wilderness BOB, you will still need to have a personalized first aid kit for your urban BOB.

It should include all your medications as well as some basics for treating wounds and common ailments. For your urban bug-out bag, you might need to add some extra medical things.

It would help if you increased the likelihood of getting wounds, so burns, abrasions, and deep cuts will be more common due to all of the flaming rubble.

As a result, you need to add extra sterile gauze, antibiotic salve, and some burn creams.

Also, consider adding potassium iodide tablets for treating your radiation exposure. If your life anywhere near a nuclear facility, these tablets will come in handy in your urban BOB.


In many urban survival scenarios, communication needs to be up there and needs to be a priority. For instance, a part of your group might stay hunkered in your location while some can go scouting for some supplies.

It will be beneficial if you have a 2-way radio to keep each other informed.

When you are in a disaster or any catastrophe, phone signals won’t work correctly, and if they are, you might need to have some solar power to charge up your phone. It is also advisable to have a permanent marker to leave some messages written on many buildings. 


To summarize, these are the items that you should be bringing in your bug-out bags. It can help you survive and make sure you won’t get hurt.

Having an urban survival kit is your way of preparing for such a disaster that will come your way. When picking the right items, you need to consider both your approach to survival and your locality when picking and choosing.